BRIDGEPORT— Amidst the recent controversy as to whether or not the UConn women’s basketball team’s dominance was good for the sport of women’s basketball, the Huskies took down No. 2 seed Texas 86-65 to go to their ninth-straight Final Four.
It wasn’t easy, though. After a 60-point blowout over Mississippi State Saturday in the Sweet 16, the Longhorns gave UConn everything they could handle in the first quarter, as they trailed the Huskies by just five points.
“So, during their run, yeah, during their run, when they were going really good, I remember sitting down and going, you know, this is really great for women's basketball,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. “Now those guys can shut the hell up. I was thinking that. Not really. Not really. I'm thinking, you know what's good for Connecticut basketball? We need to go on a 12-0 run.”
Following UConn’s win, Auriemma once again addressed the controversy of his team’s unprecedented dominance, highlighting the increasing parity within the sport due to the success of No. 7 seed Washington and No. 4 Syracuse, who both punched tickets to Final Four for the first time in program history.
“I think that Washington finishing fifth in their league and going to the Final Four, that's kind of stuff that happens in men's basketball,” Auriemma said. “Syracuse, they didn't win their league. They don't have people that everybody's talking about them being All-Americans. They don't have conference players of the year on their team. But what they did is no fluke. They came out, and they beat really good teams. That's the kind of stuff that happens in men's basketball.”
Along with the rise of these new programs reaching the Final Four, UConn’s presence will surely be noted. As a 17-time Final Four participant, the Huskies head to Indianapolis as the favorite to win it all and claim an unprecedented fourth-straight national championship.
“Go tell my three seniors that it doesn't matter what they do. Because as long as it matters to them, then it matters to me and it doesn't matter to me what those people say,” Auriemma said.
As his press conference came to an end, Auriemma wasted no time leaving a jab to the naysayers who criticize the sport of women’s basketball and try to dismiss the success of what is one of the most dominant programs in the history of modern sports.
“All those people that call in to the talk shows? You know the sad part about it? I guarantee you, none of them have ever been half as successful at what they do as Stewie's been. Because the guys that are really good, the guys that are great, they don't have time to call stupid radio stations. They're busy being great,” Auriemma said. “You should see when our guys are around the NBA players how much those guys appreciate what these kids do. I have never ever met someone who is great at what they do, criticize what these kids do. Because they understand how hard it is to be great. So maybe that's what keeps us going, too.”